Saturday, February 28, 2015

Discovering Pocket-Holes!

Pocket-Hole System

  If you've done any woodworking at all, you've probably dealt with the decision of whether to use nails or screws.  Of course, there are pros and cons to both methods (as with everything!).  For starters, screws are less apt to back up, while we all know that nails can do this over time.  On the flip side, a screw head is a lot harder to hide, or fill, than a nail head.  I can go on and on over different reasons why you should use screws or nails, but the truth is that there is a reason for both.  Both are great methods of joinery that have been used for years and for very good reason.  In a nutshell, there is a time and application to use screws, and also the same for nails.

  Several years ago I was building kitchen cabinets and I came across, what was new to me, a different method of joinery.  It was called the KREG™ Pocket-Hole System.  This method would give me the holding power that I liked from screws, while at the same time, not having to worry about hiding or filling the screw heads because........they were Hidden!  This was especially beneficial to me on the cabinet project because I could now join all of the face frame parts (stiles & rails) from behind.  Sounds crazy, huh?  It's actually a brilliant idea.  You see, before, I would have to toe-nail a finish nail through the rails, into the stiles.  This could be tricky because, even with the boards clamped together, they could still shift slightly when the nail was driven.  It's just a tedious process, and if you are seeking perfection, it is extremely important!
Pocket-Hole System

  This new system works by using a perfectly designed pre-drilling jig that aligns the drill holes at a sharp angle through the work piece from the back side.  After laying out where you want to drill the holes, a step-drill bit (which makes a pilot hole for your screw at the same time) is used.
 Once all holes are drilled, assemble the pieces with wood glue applied in the joints, and clamp together.  Now using the 6" extension driver bit included with the kit, run the "pocket-hole screws" in, making sure not to overtighten them.  After all screws are applied, remove the clamps and what you have now is perfect wood joints that won't back up!  And best of all, you can't see any screws or nails....perfect!

Now since then, I've learned of more applications for this pocket-hole system, such as:  building the actual cabinet boxes (not just the face-frames) and other furniture pieces too.  You can also adjust the pre-drilling jig and use longer pocket-hole screws.  This will let you use this method on 2x material also.  Kreg also makes a shelf pin jig so you can make multiple matching holes for shelf pins.  Really makes this easy!  All of the jigs come in different sizes and multiple price ranges.

The pocket-hole system has been a difference maker for me.  Since I discovered this method, there have been more woodworking projects that I'm confident in doing.  As I said earlier, this system comes in many different sizes.  I started out with the smallest, basic kit and it has worked perfect for almost everything I've done.  They now offer a DIY kit that is like a basic "all-in-one" option that could be a great buy.

I am not being paid by Kreg, and its not necessarily my intention to promote this company, however, I am promoting their product.  I do believe it is a wonderful joinery method that can be beneficial to both the professional and average DIYer at the same time!  I've included a YouTube video about the Kreg DIY kit.  I recommend that you watch the video and hopefully are intrigued to try this method yourself.  Good luck down the road "Doing-It-Yourself"!  As always, please leave me a comment on your thoughts and don't hesitate to add your input!